Record-Low Joblessness For African-Americans And Recent Vets

WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rates for African-Americans and recent veterans dropped to record lows in December, underscoring the health of the U.S. economy heading into 2018.

The jobless rate for black workers fell to 6.8 percent from 7.2 percent in November as more of them found employment in an increasingly tight labor market.

The unemployment rate for African-Americans, though now at its lowest level in records dating to 1972. remains stubbornly higher than the rates for other racial and ethnic groups. But Michael Feroli, an economist with JP Morgan Chase, notes that the gap between African-American and white unemployment rates is the narrowest on record.

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And the rate for those who have served in the armed forces anytime since September 2001 dropped to 3.3 percent, the lowest level in data going back to 2008.

All told, employers added a modest 148,000 jobs in December. The overall unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent.

The data for demographic groups came from a survey of households that is part of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report.

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Unemployment rate by group:

(Numbers in percentages)

December 2017

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November 2017

December 2016


3.7 3.7 4.2


6.8 7.2 7.9


2.5 3.0 2.8

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity**

4.9 4.8 5.9

Adult men

3.8 3.7 4.4

Adult women

3.7 3.6 4.3


13.6 15.9 14.4

20-24 years old

7.1 7.1 8.0

25-54 years old

3.4 3.4 4.0

55 and over

3.3 3.1 3.5

Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan*

3.3 4.6 5.7

No high school diploma

6.3 5.2 7.6

High school graduate

4.2 4.3 5.1

Some college

3.6 3.6 3.8

College graduate

2.1 2.1 2.5

Duration of Unemployment:

Average length (weeks)    

23.6 25.2 25.9

Jobless 6 months or more (pct.)    

22.9 23.9 24.7

*Not seasonally adjusted

**Includes all races

Source: Labor Department

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